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Canberra Today 9°/12° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Is there more to the two crazy lighthouse keepers?

Willem Dafoe in “The Lighthouse” (Netflix).

“The Lighthouse”, says streaming columnist NICK OVERALL, is about as indie as it gets when it comes to filmmaking, but its success lies in the fact that people can take as little or as much as they want from it.

QUIETLY having washed up on the shores of Netflix this month is “The Lighthouse”, a beguiling black-and-white tale of two lighthouse keepers both named Thomas stranded on an isle off the coast of New England.

Nick Overall.

The film is a curious, intense and at times disgusting descent into total madness, far off the beaten path of mainstream movie making hence its addition to the world’s most popular streaming platform coming as a surprise.

But its uncanny sensibilities seemed to have captured the intrigue of audiences and in turn the attention of Netflix.

The only cast members of this surreal experience include Willem Dafoe, an irate, “Captain Ahabesque” lighthouse keeper who commands a shady young employee played by Robert Pattinson.

Both actors put on some of the most impressive performances of their careers, especially Dafoe in his deliverance of crazed, folkloric monologues as the situation on the island breaks down.

It’s also shot entirely in an eerie black and white, giving the experience a strange feeling of existing in some kind of limbo.

“The Lighthouse” is about as indie as it gets when it comes to filmmaking, but its success lies in the fact that people can take as little or as much as they want from it.

For some, this may just be a tale of two men going crazy on an island together.

Others may spot the heavy mythological influence, or take it as a psychological deep dive.

Indeed, the story’s influences are as wide as an ocean, including that of Edgar Allan Poe’s final, unfinished story and a real life mystery about three lighthouse keepers who went missing in 1900.

Many will love it and many will hate it, but either way, it’s almost guaranteed that willing viewers will never have seen anything like “The Lighthouse” before and its credit to Netflix for throwing something so bafflingly unique in the mix.

That’s just the start of what’s hot in the streaming world right now.

Closer to reality, Binge is pushing season three of “American Crime Story”, a dramatisation of the affair between former US president Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

This is another anthology show, meaning each season has covered a different topic and can be watched by themselves should viewers only be interested in a certain story.

Season one probed into the OJ Simpson murder case, season two examined the assassination of Gianni Versace and now season three anchors the perspective in that of the multiple women involved in the Clinton political scandal, which lead to his impeachment.

Over on Apple TV Plus this month, they’re sending “Game of Thrones” into space with its epic “Foundation” series.

It’s not literally a galactic “Game of Thrones” spin-off, although in this era of remaking popular things I almost wouldn’t be surprised if it was, but it is certainly another attempt to fill the gap still left by the fantasy phenomenon after its ending two years ago.

“Foundation” looks to classic sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov for its inspiration, adapting his book series about a band of exiles who must fight against an inter-planetary empire after a genius prophet predicts the future destruction of the galaxy.

This is prime real estate for Apple to splash cash on bombastic CGI to bring more viewers over to the platform, but it also promises some food for thought as well.

“Foundation” dives into some heavy sociological and scientific concepts found in the work of one of the most recognised sci-fi writers of the 20th century.

Issac Asimov’s fame was more cemented from his other popular story, “I, Robot”, which got a very lax adaptation in 2004 with the film starring Will Smith (on Disney Plus).

That film is, of course, a shameless set-up for Smith to shoot CGI robots with some corny one-liners and was always doomed to endless repeats on commercial television.

But after breakdowns of sanity on a cursed island, impeachments of world leaders and galaxy-wide apocalypses sometimes that’s all one needs. 

 

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Nick Overall

Nick Overall

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